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Latest learning on Amazon Web Service (AWS) job interviews

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In the past several months, I have coached several clients to secure offers from Amazon Web Services (AWS) in several roles: Software Development Engineer, Software Development Manager, Business Development Manager, Technical Program Manager (TPM), Solution Architect and Senior Financial Analyst.

AWS is on fire. And it’s hiring like crazy. Here is a few key things for you to know about AWS.

  1. AWS is a cash cow inside Amazon. Amazon retail is operating at a very thin margin. In a lot of ways, AWS is “subsidizing” Amazon’s retail/e-commerce business. As a result, AWS division carries a lot of weight inside Amazon. It’s the “hot” division inside Amazon with executive attention, resources and power.
  2. AWS is hiring a lot of Solution Architects and Business Development Managers because Amazon needs to beef up its professional service organizations to help enterprise clients to move to the cloud. These roles are becoming a lot more “sales driven” — i.e. the traditional consulting metrics such as “utilization rate”, deal closing rate, sales and profitability are becoming increasingly important inside AWS organization.
  3. If you’re applying for technical positions in AWS, you should sign up for the various free AWS offerings, and familiarize yourself with AWS technologies.
  4. If you’re applying for Solution Architect or BD positions, you should read the AWS case studies. You need to know use cases and have a framework to apply AWS technology to solve industry/domain specific problems. You might also be asked to prepare for a client facing presentation during your interview process. You need to be comfortable with presenting and selling.
  5. If you have worked on competing cloud computing platforms such as Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud or EMC Cloud, you should be prepared to share your insights about AWS vs. the competing platforms. Your experience of migrating enterprise clients from on-premise platforms to the cloud will also be valuable.
  6. Amazon Leadership Principles questions will make or break your candidacy. One common mistake I saw from clients is mechanically trying to map your answers to one or several leadership principles. That’s the wrong approach. You need to effectively tell your story and demonstrate your fit with the leadership principles. Use my book How to get a job at Amazon as your guide and you’ll do well.

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